Working with Mixed Media Backgrounds

Your approach to composing a page with a mixed media background will depend on the style of ready made paper you're creating with and how complex it is. The overall design and painted areas of the papers (or lack of) might determine where you decide to place various parts of your page.

Here are some great ideas for working with ready made Mixed Media Backgrounds:
  • Use your Background and photo combined to create a piece of Illustrated Art
I don't claim to be an expert on achieving this look, I've experimented with it once before and my attempt turned out okay, I want to play again to experiment some more. Ellen has used this technique a few times with my products and the results always blow me away! Check out these great tutorials at the oscraps Blog and by Katie Pertiet.

Digital Scrapbook Layout by Ellen using Digital Supplies by Captivated Visions
  • Use bold design or a focal point in your background to anchor or position your photo and clustering.
Often the design and flow of the background paper can help you to find a starting point. In both of these example layouts by Ellen and Loni they chose to use the circular design on the background to accent their photo and clustering. Loni also used the theme of the background paper design to title and theme her page!

Digital Scrapbook Layout by Ellen using Digital Supplies by Captivated Visions

Digital Scrapbook Layout by Loni using Supplies by Captivated Visions
  • Clever blending can result in the most artful pages!
The following examples from Christine and Roxana are photos blended into Mixed Media Papers. Finding lighter areas, or areas of white space to blend photos can result in really striking artful pages. If you look carefully at Christines page below, she let the photo and painted background do most of the talking, there are minimal element placements yet her page is so powerful and emotional.

Digital Scrapbook Layout by Christine using Supplies by Captivated Visions

Digital Scrapbook Layout by Roxana Supplies by Captivated VIsions
  • > Colour & Composition
This layout by Yolanda has so many clever uses of using a Mixed Media Background. The first thing that strikes me is her clever use of colour, the paper that she chose features yellow splatters so she balanced this by adding her title and splashes of paint in the opposite colour from the Kit swatch. Yolanda has used the paper to her advantage and allowed it to help her arrange her composition. In keeping with the title of her page, she has used the painted areas on the right hand side as a busy part of her layout, carefully positioning the flying birds to create the illusion of her stresses flying away. She added the silhouette focal point in the area of white space to look out at the busier side of the page and watch her stresses flying away.

Digital Scrapbooking Layout by Yolanda using Supplies by Captivated Visions

Putting together your own Mixed Media Background

To do this you will need a paper as your base, either a very simple Mixed Media Paper or lightly Patterned Paper (examples of great base papers that would work well are the Mixed Media or Pattern & Prints from the Creme Caramel Collection). Other options are a completely solid plain paper or maybe a piece of craft paper or cardboard.

You'll also need a set of brushes and any other 'Media' that takes your fancy so that you can create a Mixed design on your paper. It might also be helpful to have some other papers to hand with either a pattern or painted finish,

Where you choose to start will depend on what type of page you're looking to create. Do you have a photo to scrap or are you going photo-less? Do you need lots of room to journal or an area to blend a photo? Once you've decided how you need your paper to work for your project you can get to work on it!

Consider the following ideas and experiment and play until you find a style or a look that you like!
  • Pick accent colours for your paper and start stamping brushes on different layers in different colours and allow them to overlap. Re-visit your layers and play with blend modes on each layer until you find a look that you love!
  • Consider your mood and the message you want to communicate. The colours and complexity of your page can speak volumes, it begins to set the tone of your page.
  • A Border effect can be added to your page using brushes by stamping various brushes around the edge of your page. Rotate layers or set the brush angle to use different sides of the stamped brush to create your edge.
  • Clip papers or other paper ephemera to your stamped brush layers to create the effect of Collage or transferred/burnished papers. If you want to cover a large area keep stamping fairly large brushes close to one another on the same layer and then clip your paper/s.
  • Experiment with blend modes on Brown or Neutral colour stamped brushes to create a dirty or aged effect.
  • Add different layers of different kinds of brushes to create texture and interest such as text, bubble wrap, watercolours, paint splatters etc.
  • Add Ready Made Overlays to your design, you can blend them in too by using the blending modes!
  • Try blending papers into one another. Drag a paper over the top of your canvas and change the blend modes until you find a look you like. This is especially fun if you have already added or blended paint into your base paper!
No doubt there are tons of other ideas I haven't covered in this post, and once you get started I bet you'll think of lots of your own (or even figure out a few by accident after playing and experimenting freely, I love it when that happens!). I asked the Captivating Sistas to play along, Lynn and Heather were up to the challenge and created their own fun Mixed Media backgrounds using the techniques posted here and made a layout with them to inspire you!

By Heather
Digital Layout by Heather using Digital Scrapbook Supplies by Captivated Visions

By Lynn
Digital Layout by Lynn using Digital Scrapbook Supplies by Captivated Visions

Don't hesitate to leave your comments or ask any questions that you might have!